While CD8+ “killer” T cells have been the primary focus of most immunotherapy approaches, the importance of CD4+ “helper” T cells in killing cancer cells and enabling successful immune responses against tumors has come to be greatly appreciated in recent years. However, the development cycle leading helper T cells to acquire the capacity to kill tumors remains poorly understood, so Dr. Hiam-Galvez seeks to improve our knowledge in this area using sophisticated new technologies.
In particular, he’s using single-cell sequencing and lineage tracing to look at the gene regulatory networks that govern the state, fate, and behavior of helper T cells—with the ultimate goal of characterizing the epigenetic landscape during their development. By modifying key factors and then analyzing the resulting changes, he aims to decipher the regulatory logic that enables helper T cells to acquire the ability to kill cancer cells in mice. He will also disrupt the killing ability of helper T cells and assess how this impacts overall immune responses against cancer. Overall, the findings from these studies should expand our knowledge of helper T cell biology and provide insights into how to engage them more effectively in cancer treatment.
Projects and Grants
The Development and Anti-Tumor Function of Cytotoxic CD4 T Cells
Stanford University | All Cancers | 2021 | Ansuman Satpathy M.D., Ph.D.
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